You’re a college student recently having gone through the exciting process of how to find a job or college internship: interviewing, traveling, interviewing some more, and finally all the hard work has paid off with a job offer!
People often receive more than one offer, oferty pracy and a lot of times they look only at the basic salary to compare them. Sadly, by doing this, they may be missing out on a lot of other forms of compensation that may be available, ultimately missing out on a better offer that was on the table.
I hope to use this article to show you how to find the hidden values in an offer, and how to assess the various components of an offer. Hopefully you can avoid the trap of mistakenly passing up a fantastic offer just because the basic salary was a few dollars less than another offer!
Let’s start by looking at what the basic sources of compensation from an offer are:
Basic Salary — Everyone looks at this first, and rightfully so. This is your take-home every month and is the bulk of your compensation. Some companies look to this exclusively to attract people. Recently, the “big oil” companies have been ramping up their base salary for engineers, causing other companies to put their arms up in wonder. However, don’t get discouraged (or excited) just off ofyour base salary alone, you must consider the whole picture!
Signing Bonus — These are becoming more and more popular as a way to entice people to work for a company. These can be anywhere from $1,000 all the way up to $25,000 or more! (I just heard the other day of a girl getting a $24,000 signing bonus for a major oil service company!). A lot of times, companies would rather give you a larger signing bonus than a higher basic salary, so watch out for that trap too. Think about it, would you rather have $3,000 in your pocket today, or $1,500 more in your salary each year? If you can, take the salary increase, it will pay off tenfold in the long run.
Health Care — This includes not only health coverage, but dental, life insurance, vision, etc. Look carefully at these, not all companies are equal in what they provide!
Other benefits that can be extremely undervalued:
Performance Bonuses — Pay for performance is an extremely useful company tool, but it’s application is hit or miss. Depending on the job, this could be huge ‘ some sales jobs are all commission based, whereas other jobs (pure engineering) are functional and therefore performance is harder to measure, so a bonus can be as small as a few hundred dollars just because the company did well. Either way, make sure you are clear on what the expectations and resulting payouts could be for the offer you are looking at.
Free on-site gym — These can be worth at least $150 per year, not including any special courses (think Yoga, Dance, Pilates, etc). They also save you on gas and time it takes to travel to an off-site gym, so consider that too.